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Many Killed As Bandits Turn Against Each Other

Many people have been killed in attacks on Chito community of Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.

Witnesses said the fresh killings took place in the same area where at least five persons were killed few days ago.

The residents said bandits have been wasting lives over rivalry on who should dictate the pace of revenue collection in local markets.

A witness who preferred anonymity, said Friday killings were a revenge by one group of the bandits against another.

“The gangs are just going to each other’s village in retaliation. Yesterday, (Friday) a militia group in retaliation of the incident few days ago accosted road users along the Chito-Zaki-Biam and unleashed terror on many people, including a would-be groom who was also killed,” he said.

Corroborating the witnesses, a prominent politician from the area, Chief Ayati Shima, told our correspondent on telephone, banditry which has been constrained to three council wards of the affected local government had existed too long without any solution in sight.

“It’s true. I didn’t know the exact number but I hear people were killed in that area. It’s the home local government of Senator Emmanuel Udende and some of us are disturbed that we are not hearing anything from him.”

“A lot needs to be done because the political class from the area, including me have failed as far as I’m concerned. We have failed the people because politics is meant to proffer solution to such things and we are failing to proffer solution to these banditry activities. It’s very unfortunate,” Shima said.

Meanwhile, a Lawyer, Ayati Orlu-Bem Ayati, who hails from the area has called for a declaration of a state of emergency in Ukum LGA in order to tame the evil tide.

He stated in a letter made available to.journalists in Makurdi, “That apart, on or about  25th day of August, 2023, another suspected rival Tiv militia gang laid waste to souls numbering eight in Chito in Ukum Local Government Area.

“Just yesterday, the 25th August, 2023, a kindred Tiv militia group again waylaid travelers along the Chito-Zaki-Biam road and brutally murdered scores of people, including a graduate called Lemuel Mzungwega Gbajime who was traveling home to prepare for his wedding fixed 2nd September, 2023 – next week Saturday!

“Incidents of wanton daily killings and kidnappings have risen to a crescendo in Ukum Local Government Area.

“Based on the foregoing premises, submit that there is an actual breakdown of public order and safety in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue within the meaning and spirit of Section 305 (3)(C) of the CFRN,1999( as amended).

“I therefore call on our Governor, with the sanction of the Benue State House of Assembly (BSHA), to request the President to proclaim a state of emergency to tackle this menace.”

Police Public Relations Officer in Benue, SP Catherine Anene, said she had not received any such reports.

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